Category Archives: Family

Should we or shouldn’t we?

Pros and cons of adopting another dog.



  • Doggy friend for Coal (#1 Pro)
  • Desire to rescue sweet lab after her family gave her away because she was “too much work”
  • New running buddy with a lot of energy
  • Likes to play fetch (Coal, not so much)
  • More dogs = more to love
  • More dog hair to sweep/vacuum (more cleanup in general)
  • More cost
  • Sometimes a struggle to get up early enough to walk one dog, now two?
  • Unknown/unpredictable animal in the house.  The one we have is pretty darn good.
  • Small house for one dog and 2 big boys – how much more room will second dog occupy?
  • Will pet sitter take second dog?  Most likely yes

What would you do?



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WIP Wednesday #2

More quilty progress makes me feel good!

This is the second of the Christmas quilts I made for my boys.  All that was left on Christmas morning was the binding so I boxed them up and gave them “as is”.  Not exactly as I wanted, but they’re done now!

Note the snow on the ground.  These pictures were taken on Monday, just 2 days ago.  It’s 62 degrees today.  Gotta love Wisconsin.

Linking up with Lee’s WIP Wednesday.


Filed under Family, Quilting, WIP Wednesday

2012 First Finish

A quilt for M.  And a 2012 first finish.

I posted about it a month ago for January’s FNSI.  All I had left at that time was sewing the binding and fixing a little snafu with the backing.  M and the cat have been sleeping under it for over a month now and since we have some bright, bright sunshine today I thought I’d snap a few pictures.  I am so happy with how it turned out.  M and the cat love it too.

M quilt 2012 - front

I was inspired by Malka Dubrawsky’s duvet cover from the Spring 2011 Stitch magazine but didn’t remember exactly how she made it, or that it was a duvet cover.  The actual pattern calls for 6 solids and mine uses 5.  They’re simply arranged, each piece about 18″ x 40″ (again, my memory fails me) and stitched together to make a twin quilt. My friend Corinne shared her magazine with me and I realized Malka’s was a bit different, especially with 6 colors to my 5,  plus the fact that hers is a duvet cover.  Since I had already cut my fabric and didn’t have enough time (or the patience, honestly) to make it a duvet, I kept to the original plan.  Voila!  My version.

M quilt in the snow

I like the back too.  I used a twin sheet I had purchased years ago and pieced in the solids from the front.  It’s almost reversible, actually.

M Quilt back


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When close enough just doesn’t cut it

M has been wanting to try recipes from “Star Wars Cookbook II:  Darth Malt and more Galactic Recipes”.  Padme Pad Thai was a smashing success.  Appropriately spicy.  Next up:  Darth Maul Dip.  M and Jim had done all the prep work for the dip, and it was chilling in the fridge when I got home from work.  All that was left was sprinkling the poppy seeds over the Darth Maul template to make the scary face.  And for some reason it was up to me to do the sprinkling.  I should have smelled a setup.

First of all, some background information is in order (I mean, let me make excuses for myself):  this cookbook is a school library book.  I didn’t think it was a good idea to press the template into the dip. Because it’s a school library book.

Have you ever made anything with a template?  Then I’m sure you know the template has to be flush with the surface under it in order to transfer the shape, right?  Well, I know that too, but it’s a school library book.  I didn’t think it was a good idea to mess up the template.

How do you think that turned out for me?

Darth Mess


M took one look at it and walked out of the kitchen.  Not a word was spoken though some tears were shed.  Clearly he was crushed that I had wrecked his creation.  My name was mud, akin to the Tooth Fairy forgetting to pick up the tooth or leave the cash.  That one FOR SURE wasn’t my fault.

Anyway, some quick thinking and scraping off the poppy seeds and starting over.

Viola!  Darth Maul Dip.

Appropriately accessorized with action figures and a dash of redemption.

PS Anakin and Darth Vader are fighting in the upper right hand corner.  What did you think they were doing?

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Weekend sewing

I got together with my Quilt Guild ladies for a day of sewing.  While I brought several projects to work on, the only project I felt I had to complete were pajama bottoms for my boys.  I have made several for them in the last few years and the boys quickly outgrew them.  Being the mother of boys, this is pretty much the only garment I can sew for them.  Well, pjs and pillow cases.  That pretty much sums it up.

My oldest has been asking for some time for a new pair of  pj bottoms.  The last pair I made for him is about 3 inches too short and he pushes them down to the middle of his bum every time he wears them.  They have to go.  This time he requested red flannel and I was happy to oblige.  Unfortunately, my local JoAnn’s only carries plaid flannel shirting though the cutting lady assured me that she made pj bottoms for her teenage boys and flannel shirting worked fine.  The only warning she gave me is that the fabric could shrink up to 4 inches so I should pre-wash once, if not twice.  I also purchased about 1/4 yard more than the pattern called for.  Since Primo has grown so tall (3 1/2″ since January last), I knew he wouldn’t fit in the child part of the pattern so I moved up to a men’s small.  His hips are 34 1/2″ and the men’s small hip measurement is 35-37″ so I thought that would be best.  Better to be too roomy than too tight for sleep pants, IMHO.

I have purchased a lot of fabric from JoAnn’s over the years, especially flannel for pillow cases and Kona solids for quilting.  I am not usually disappointed because I don’t purchase the flimsy stuff.  I definitely had my doubts about the flannel shirting because it was so thin and it turned out I was right to be skeptical.  Although it didn’t shrink as much as the cutting lady said it would, the flannel shirting was so cheap and crappy to sew on, it was all I could do to not throw it away and purchase a pre-made pair of sleep pants from Target on the way home.  I also sewed the pants wrong in one step and I had to rip the seams, nearly ripping the fabric in some places.  Further, the fabric apparently didn’t lay flat when I was cutting the pattern so the pieces didn’t match up when I went to sew them together.  I had to re-cut both the hem and the waist before I finished them just to get them to match up.  I thought for sure Primo was going to see them and say, “Uh, thanks Mom, but no thanks”.  Before I presented them to him I told him I had no ego tied up in them, then explained what that meant.  I truly didn’t care if he didn’t want them; in fact, they would have fit me.

Segundo’s pjs, on the other hand, sewed together beautifully.  I had also purchased his flannel from JoAnn’s but his was licensed NFL flannel (Green Bay Packers, of course) and much heavier and of nicer quality.  I could have made 3 of those in the time it took me to sew one from the cheap flannel.  I even easily inserted the elastic waist band after my mom gave me a sweet tip about sewing the first end down, then the second, instead of trying to sew the elastic pieces together in the small space allowed.  I think his sleep pants took me less than an hour to complete.  Nice.

Despite the troubles with the cheap flannel, my eldest is really happy with his sleep pants.  Though they’re really (really) roomy, he said they’re very comfortable and I’m hoping they’ll shrink a bit with more washing.  Note the pooling of fabric on the floor:

Despite how it looks, I did NOT try to match the plaids.  This is just a happy coincidence.  I am not that skilled at garment sewing.

By the way, the pattern I used is Simplicity 9499, which includes separate pattern pieces for child and adult, as well as tops and a drawstring bag.  This is an “easy to sew” pattern.


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Snowmageddon 2011 – Wisconsin Style

Snow day today.  Huge blizzard.  Blizzard of the century.  The schools are closed, a state of emergency has been declared, banks and businesses are closed, motorists are advised to stay off the streets.  Neighbors are banding together to free cars and front porches.  It’s now mid-afternoon and it’s no longer scary out there though it’s pretty cold.  The snow plows have come through and cleared the streets.  The kids are having fun.

This view is looking south from the sun room window at about 9:00 this morning. The snow drift on our porch is about 3 feet high and no one had started shoveling yet.

My oldest came home after spending the night at a friend’s house.  He brought 3 12-year-old friends and they helped shovel the neighbor’s driveway and front walkway.  It took about 3 1/12 hours.

One person on the block had to go to work today and got stuck on the snowy road.  Many hands were required to shovel and push her out.  Minutes later the plow came through and cleared the road.

Where would we be without this neighbor and his snow blower?  Buried under 4 feet of snow, that’s where!  It never fails, Mike clears the sidewalk in front of several houses every time it snows.  This morning he loaned it to my husband so he could clear our driveway.  Then he loaned it to the neighbor on our other side.  He’s a Godsend.

It looks like everything will be back to normal tomorrow.  The kids will be back in school and we’ll be back at work.  It was good while it lasted.

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A note about New Year’s Traditions

New Year’s Traditions?  I don’t have any.

OK, I take that back, our family has two but they’re New Year’s EVE traditions.  Other than that, we don’t really do anything to mark the new year and I’m not good at sticking to resolutions so I don’t usually make those either.

OK, I take that back too.  I make the same new year’s resolution every year and every year I break it within a week:  no library fines.  Generally simple and attainable, right?  Yeah, not for me, though I don’t feel bad when I do inevitably break the resolution because I’m supporting a good cause.

I hope this one doesn’t become a tradition for our family:

That’s my husband on new year’s day plunging into Lake Michigan.  The temperature outside was 18 F; there were ice chunks on the beach where he entered the water; there was a furious wind whipping the sand and the surf; AND, it doesn’t count unless you go totally under.  He wasn’t alone though, oh no.  The local paper reported hundreds of nutters went in and, in fact, a good family friend went in with my husband.  Here’s a crowd scene:

See that line of messy fencing in the foreground?  That’s SNOW FENCING.  Yeah, for the inevitable Wisconsin snow.  Here’s a closeup of what the more sane people were wearing:

Oh wait, that’s my husband and our friend, never mind.   It had been nearly 20 years since he last went in but he surprised me when our son asked how many times he had been in and replied, “more than 5”. Seriously?  More than 5.  Wow.  Even I didn’t know that.  Since it was so packed at the lakefront we had to park pretty far from the beach which also means it was a long long walk with frozen hair.   Despite the fact that I didn’t go in, I had to confess that my butt was frozen. It really was.

We finished the morning with our friend and kids at Starbucks.  I treated.  I figured they earned it.

On another note, I finished a quilt already.  Yea!!  I started it back in May but had yet to quilt and bind it.  I quilted it on Saturday and finished the binding Sunday afternoon.  It’s for Quilts for Kids so they have strict requirements about the quilting (must be heavily quilted to stand up to hospital washing) and binding.  There is concern that it will get snagged on an IV line so they recommend “pillowcasing” it or folding the back to the front to make the binding or traditional binding.  I chose to do a semi-traditional binding with the only difference that I didn’t hand sew it at the end:  I zigzag stitched it.  It actually didn’t look too bad though that wouldn’t be my chosen method if I was giving it as a gift.  And I think I learned how to sew it more neatly next time so the zigzag stays closer to the binding on the back AND the front.  I hope to get it in the mail this week.  Isn’t it a happy print?  All the fabric except for the binding was provided by Quilts for Kids.

I think that’s a pretty good start to the new year.


Filed under Charity, Family, Learning Curve, Quilting